Wednesday, October 12, 2016

How the Cold of Winter Affects Your Garage Door Opener

Anyone who owns a car in places with cold winters knows from firsthand experience that extreme cold causes mechanical problems. Therefore, it shouldn't come as a surprise that your garage door opener may not function as it should when the temperature drops.

These problems come down to how the cold causes the metal components of your garage door opener to shrink. When moving parts shrink, they don't quite fit together as they should, which can cause them to seize. The tendency to contract also stresses and may warp the garage door tracks, which increases the likelihood of the rollers getting stuck. Furthermore, the cold causes grease to thicken, and moving parts already affected by the cold are also held back by thick, hard grease.

Low temperatures make the metal in your garage door springs "want to contract." They can't do this because they are held in place. This stresses the metal. In addition, the metal becomes brittle in the cold. What happens to your stressed and brittle springs when they are near the end of their service life? They break.

Here's what you can do to prevent cold weather issues:

Insulate Your Garage 

Since cold temperatures are at the heart of the above problems, it makes sense to keep the cold out of your garage as much as possible. Insulate the door, the walls and ceiling of your garage. Make sure the seal at the door bottom makes full contact with the floor. Insulation also saves on heating costs in the winter, and air conditioning costs in the summer.

Have Your Old Springs Checked 

Weak and old springs tend to break in the winter because of the reasons discussed previously. Contact a garage door serviceman to evaluate the condition of your springs. If they're on the verge of breaking, the serviceman will be able to determine this.

Clean out the Grease and Apply a Silicone-Based Lubricant 

Use a solvent to clear out old grease and then use a cloth to wipe away the solvent. Lubricate the parts with a silicone-based lubricant. Apply lubricant to all moving parts including those not caked up in grease. This will make them less likely to seize in cold conditions.

Check the Alignment of Your Tracks 

If your garage door opener tracks are slightly misaligned in warmer weather, the cold can worsen the problem. Have a garage door professional check the alignment and make the necessary adjustments.

Other Winter Problems 

Whenever an ice storm coats your door with ice, don't try to open the door because the door bottom will be iced to the floor. Furthermore, the ice coating is weighing down the door and lifting the extra weight will stress and possibly damage your garage door motor. Remove ice from the entire door including its bottom. You should manually check to see if the door freely opens before using the garage door opener. Also clear out any snow buildup at the floor below the door because it may trigger the safety reverse mechanism when closing the door.

If your garage door opener needs a winter tune up, give us a call today.